00.00 – 00.31 Climate Curious Podcast Introduction
00.32 – 02.15 Justin and Times Magazine
02.16 – 05.36 Climate stories
05.36 – 06.09 Advice for upcoming journalists
06.10 – 06.20 Outro
Time Magazine – Time is an American news magazine and news website published and based in New York City.
Climate Curious Podcast Introduction
Maryam Pasha 0:01
Welcome to climate quickies, bite sized nuggets of climate goodness from our TEDx London experts in under five minutes.
Ben Hurst 0:08
In this week’s Quickie, we speak to Justin Worland, senior correspondent at Time Magazine covering climate change, he shares what it’s like to be a climate journalist, the most impactful stories he’s covered, and some of the dangers involved in this sort of work. Let’s head over to Justin to tell us more. Stay curious.
Justin and Times Magazine
Justin Worland 0:31
My name is Justin Worland. I’m a climate journalist at Time magazine, I write about climate change. And basically how it shapes our world. The role of a climate journalist is like any other journalist in the sense that we’re trying to inform the world on the topic that we cover, in this case, climate change and the urgent crisis that we face. Climate journalists are, you know, depending on who you are digging through reports, talking to people who are facing severe environmental challenges, talking to policymakers talking to activists really trying to piece together all the pieces of the climate story and tell them in a way that the public can understand. And hopefully, we’ll use that information to, you know, engage with policymakers to be involved in themselves, and figuring out how we tackle climate change.
I have the luxury of being able to cover a really diverse range of stories. Some of the ones that I think are most impactful are ones where I go into a community, tell a story that maybe hasn’t really been told something that’s really you know, influencing people on the ground, and just hasn’t been picked up by national media. So that’s, that’s one kind or the other thing is really finding ways to explain really important things like say big legislation or big global policy moves, and finding ways to tell those stories in a way that the average person can understand. So I think impact can come in lots of different ways. I think about sort of those two buckets on the ground stories, and then just explaining really big things to everyday people.
I love to get out on the road, to talk to people to see what’s happening in communities. And I think there’s really a diverse array of stories that haven’t been told. It’s striking. I spent time earlier this year in San Diego, which is, you know, big American city, looking at 100 plus billion dollar plan to revamp their transportation system that really hadn’t gotten much coverage, but was about to reshape the lives of people on the ground. And I found that, you know, when I thoughtfully wrote about that there was a huge amount of engagement. You know, funnily enough from people in San Diego who just hadn’t seen that coverage really in their local media. The other really important thing to me is finding stories from people of colour groups of people who are, you know, live in poverty stories that haven’t been told, because people are just sideline and finding ways to elevate those stories. And so I was in Alabama, I guess two months ago, talking to people in a community that have sanitation issues where basically when ever it rains, and it’s raining more, they’re their pipes back up. And they have to deal with, you know, sanitation basically issues in their inside their homes. So really, finding any way to get into community talk about things that people aren’t talking about, and elevate those stories is important to my work.
There’s this big debate about what kind of stories are the best climate stories. And really, my experience has been that good stories are the best climate stories that people are actually engaged and interested in, in anything, if you can find the right way to tell that story, right. So it’s not that they’re bored by policy. It’s not that they want to be scared or they’re afraid of being scared. All of these stories have valuable and they’re all have value, and they’re all true. You just have to find the right way to tell them. And so, you know, I go back always to this example from 2019 When I wrote a story about a boarder carbon adjustment, literally the most boring sounding thing possible. And it was our second most read climate story of the year. a tonne of people read it. It’s all about finding an interesting way to tell it.
There’s a range of challenges that climate journalists might face. I mean, first off journalism is a really challenging industry. It’s a challenging industry, to get people to pay attention. It’s a challenging industry to navigate various media outlets and demands. It’s challenging to communicate on climate specifically because climate is something that isn’t inherently grabby for people. So that’s a big channel. And, you know, I’ll say I personally haven’t experienced too much of this. But for a lot of climate journalists, particularly in the Global South, in places like the Amazon, where they’re trying to an Earth, stories about about wrongdoing, there is there is a threat to life and well being. And so, you know, the gamut runs really from the more quotidian challenges of communication to the really life threatening challenges of, you know, trying to do your job.
Advice for upcoming journalists
First thing I would say to anybody who’s interested in getting involved in climate journalism is to do the craft right to be a journalist. So if you find ways to write stories, get them published. That’s the first thing that you need to do. You know, if you’re especially if you’re going to be a written word, journalist, and then of course, to learn to be curious to have this sort of information in your back pocket that’s going to inform the work that you would do I think that’s always going to be an asset as a journalist. Be curious and be informed.
Ben Hurst 6:09
Thanks for listening to this quickie.
Maryam Pasha 6:11
This episode was created by our superstar podcast team at TEDx London, and supported by our headline partner, the global bank Citi. Until next time,
Ben Hurst 6:20